Conservative activists launch petition against NCAA over transgender bathroom dispute

Posted September 26

A conservative, pro-family organization is taking aim at the National Collegiate Athletic Association's decision to pull championship events out of North Carolina — a decision made in protest of the state's new transgender bathroom law.

The American Family Association has launched a petition calling for the NCAA to reinstate championship games for the 2016-2017 season in North Carolina, encouraging the athletic body to "respect varying state laws" on gender identity.

"This past week the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) pulled all championship events out of North Carolina for the 2016-2017 season simply because that state passed a law, known as HB 2," reads a statement from AFA president Tim Wildmon.

The law — which has sparked no shortage of debate — requires that people use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological gender.

The AFA views the mandate as "simply protecting women and children from sexual predators and voyeurs," but the NCAA sees it quite differently, announcing in a Sept. 12 statement that the seven competitions slated for North Carolina this academic year would be moved due to "cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections."

The statement went on to list a variety of factors that went into the NCAA's decision, saying that North Carolina doesn't honor local laws that treat sexual orientation as a protected class; the text also mentioned the bathroom debate.

"North Carolina has the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity," the statement read.

It added, "North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community."

One other element playing a part in the decision is the fact that five states — New York, Washington, Vermont, Connecticut and Minnesota — preclude travel to North Carolina for public employees. The fear, according to the NCAA, is that this will include athletics staff and students at public schools.

The AFA also charges that the NCAA is forcing prospective championship host sites to fill out an anti-discrimination questionnaire, which asks whether the institution bans or interferes with a person's choice of locker room or bathroom.

An explanation accompanying the questionnaire notes that the NCAA adopted new rules after states like North Carolina passed gender identity regulations.

Question six reads, "If the Event is planned to be held on institutional/campus property, does your institution have provisions that interfere with any person’s choice of bathroom or locker room?"

The AFA petition has already attracted nearly 55,000 signatures. It follows another petition that the organization launched around opposition to Target's policy of allowing transgender persons to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity; more than 1.4 million people signed that petition.

Following intense controversy, Target recently announced that it will now install single-stall bathrooms in the rest of its locations — a move that comes after the company faced decreased sales amid the debate.

Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan told USA Today this summer that, while the company isn't changing its stance on the matter, leaders understand that not everyone in the public likes its transgender bathroom policy.

The company already had single-stall bathrooms in 1,400 of its 1,800 stores.

"We get it," Boylan said. "Some like it, some don't."

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